Monday, May 15, 2006

'ne ho ma, lo paw'

November 2002

Every time I spoke to Maggie, she would teach me a word or two of Cantonese. It started with 'ne ho ma', how are you, then she taught me good morning and pretty girl. She would spell the words out to me over the telephone and I would try to include them in the text I sent her overnight.

She always said my pronunciation was very good, adding that 'you are part Cantonese already'

I called her earlier that day, as I had a meeting in the afternoon. I said I had a surprise for her, then changed the subject, and waited until she asked me for her surprise.

So then I told her that I had was going back to Shanghai. Then when she asked, I told her that I would be in Hong Kong on 7th December. 'Wow' she said, 'so happy news..... so that will be..... let me see...... two and a half weeks, I will count each day'.

'What about my lesson today' I asked. 'Ok' she said. Then she took a little time to think what would be the best thing to teach me next.

'Right' she said, 'today, I will teach you my nickname'. I wasn't sure what she meant by nickname, but was very happy when she told me that she had never told this to anyone before.

'It is lo paw' She said 'L O P A W' she spelt it out.

'What does it mean?'

'It is just my nickname' she replied.

My text that night said 'ne ho ma, lo paw'


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